Behind the Shower Curtain: Interview with Maria Be

This interview with Brooklyn-based creative Maria Be is one we swoon over at our Behind the Shower Curtain series. Being rocked by a global pandemic and living through the midst of a "new normal", we appreciate her even more for her talent, her warm and optimistic persona, and the creative rituals that keep her sane.


How do we know you?
I am a still life Photographer with a background in culinary arts and a degree in Philosophy. I was born in Russia and brought to New York when I was four years old. I grew up with my parents constantly working (there were many struggles, though it never felt that way) to create better lives and opportunities for us than what was being offered back home. Despite them wanting me to pursue a career that would be lucrative for me (they didn't want me to bear the same financial burdens they had to throughout their lives), I was always inspired by arts and literature, so it only felt right to ultimately pursue a career that would fall in that category. I got into photography in high school and took a hiatus during my college years, focusing on critical theory. After dropping out of graduate school I considered going to culinary school to become a food writer, but that pursuit led me back to photography, which felt right at home this time, as my long break from it gave me new insights into artistic development.



First thing that comes to mind when we say Bodycare:
To me Bodycare is self-love. Our bodies are natural and it only makes sense to be good to them in a natural way, so I am always looking for skincare that is made with as many natural ingredients as possible. I feel that it is essential to use natural ingredients for the skin to be at its healthiest and for it to be able to regenerate properly—I like to think of Bodycare as an aid to let the skin do what it is meant to do on its own, rather than using chemicals to replace its natural function.



How do you manage your creative flow during quarantine?
I like to let my mind wander and my dreams guide me to help with creative flow during lockdown. Living and working in NYC is especially mentally draining, so it makes it difficult to find the time to even think sometimes. Being in lockdown has really slowed things down and I like to take that time to do all of the things I love doing (like cooking and creating with other mediums of art), but never have time for otherwise. More freedom with time has given me more opportunity to daydream and think of new and interesting ways to implement my creativity into my work. I have also been having more interesting dreams, so that has been a great factor for my creativity, too.



What's a thing or two that inspires you during times of uncertainty?
Something that inspires me during this time is the unity that has risen through separation. Normally we are so wrapped up in our own lives that we hardly find the time or desire to care for others. This forced break from everyday life has made many people unite and be there for each other, whether for family or strangers, and seeing that is really beautiful and hopeful. I feel that because we are all in this together, we have been able to show up and advocate for things that matter, resulting in one of the biggest (and way too long awaited) social movements in history. All of this inspires me to continue striving to work with brands that not only represent a diverse multitude of people, but that are also owned by people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Everyone has a unique story to tell, sometimes through product or recipe, and I am forever grateful and inspired to have opportunities to help bring those visions to life through art.



[images: Maria Be]